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By Linson Abah

You know a parent has this syndrome when they see their child as an opportunity to either start over or perfect what they failed at earlier in life. They wall in on their child, gradually ripping every infant dream and freedom of choice, personal aspirations and identity. You would agree that a good number of female parents are bug-ridden with this hushed but vile syndrome…the Second Chance Syndrome.

As a child grows up and begin to learn to rationally communicate his or her persona in the course of daily decision making and conduct, mothers are expected to observe and ask questions to amply understand what the child may be going through. However, this is not always the case especially in Africa.

Starting first as the devoted need to control the “naïve” and “ambitionless” choices of their children – such as choice of clothes, shoes, hairdo, books and schools – a good number of female parents slowly begin to manifest the Second Chance Syndrome.

They knockdown and disarm their children of the will to realize their potential as designed by providence, and even when not necessary they use brutal force to bring up the child of their desire to either be like them or to correct the mistakes of their past.

Others go as far as punishing their children for the abuse and exploitation they must have suffered earlier in life probably from an abusive father or mother, brother or sister, boyfriend or girlfriend or even a total stranger.

The throbbing quirk of fate, however, is this; despite the unrelenting effort of some mothers to intentionally disregard the personality of their children, they go an extra mile to fashion the child after them. This is an obsession fuelled by their inability to forgive themselves for past failures or to let go of past misfortunes. Others are just too in love or fixated with themselves that they would do anything to make their child another them.

For instance, “I need a doctor in this family,” one mother says to her children.

While another mother says to her son; John, you must be a lawyer like my father.” Meanwhile, John may want to become a musician.

And when this child seems to struggle or fails to please her, she nags constantly like a leaky roof on a rainy day over the incapacity of the child to gauge up to her foolproof and snotty standard.

The motive may seem right but its damaging consequence is most often than not devastating. Instead of setting up your child for success, you end up sabotaging everything he/she could have ever become.

When you succumb to the Second Chance Syndrome, here are the negative effects it has on your child;


  1. The complete potential of the child of a parent with the Second Chance Syndrome will never be unleashed because he/she would always exist as a lie – ‘the life mama wants me to live.’ Some go on to become control freak parents continuing a never -ending chain reaction.


  1. The child becomes indecisive; swivelling between decisions, and forever and a day on the lookout for a say-so to make a choice. This is the upshot of relentlessly knocking down every opinion of the tot.


  1. Your child is not another you. You may look alike; agreed! But the genetic composition of his/her being sculpts his/her way of thinking and making choices, hence treat him/her as a completely differently individual. You should know that the world does not need another you—one you is already good enough.


  1. Being hell-bent on making your child an additional you is like drawing fresh patterns over a perfected blueprint; it will become indecipherable. Your child will always be misunderstood by others because of the double play of characters; your real child [the one you intentionally refused to see and accept] in opposition to the double you fashioned.


  1. In the end, you would have brought up a child with a chronic personality disorder because, instead of loving your child unconditionally, you picked yourself over and over again.


  1. In place of passion for success, you instil in the youngster a sense of constant fear of failure.


Every mother or female parent must be on guard against the impulsive need to punish her child(ren) because of the mistakes she made in the past. Kill and bury the need to treat your child as a Second Chance Project. Bring out the star in your child. And if you’re wondering how, simply read on.

A quick use of the Google Search Button will give you a vast and time-consuming reading list on how to set up your kids for success. But, you would agree that for the most part, those ideas are as fusty as ditchwater; most likely what you’ve heard or read a million times before.

So if you’re reading this, it means you are in the right place because I’ve worked my fingers to the bone to find and give you a shortlist of dapper and practicable parenting ideas that will get the passion and moral fibre for success in your child fired up.

All you will need is the strength of character to follow these suggestions dutifully. Write a checklist and stay committed to it.

Enough for today, the next time we meet I will give you all you need to set up your child for success. For now, go and evaluate your approach to parenting.

Share with us your thoughts on the Second Chance Syndrome or ask questions. And don’t forget to hit the share button!

Faya on!

Photo Credit: Jill Greenberg


  1. Otedola Owa Reply

    It’s nice to know that I am not paranoid; that the things I claim to notice but can’t explain accurately are seen by other people who understand it even better.

    • Energie Reply

      Thank you for the feedback, We hope to bring more of such issues to light.

  2. Dr. Agbo Solomon Inalegwu Reply

    Nice one, man. Although, am not a parent yet but i think this sydrome is usually as a result of fear and worry that the child might not live up to a particular standard they (parents) have been able to set in life. A parent would naturally expect his child to surpass his achievements, u know, become much bigger than he/she ever was. Even though this is a good thought from a parent, parents need to understand that a child deserves the freedom to be born, to live, to learn, to grow, and to become whoever he/she wants to be in life. What a child need from his/her parents is love, protection, and guidance. And not making a replica of one’s self out of one’s child as the writer has rightfully pointed out.

    • Energie Reply

      Coming from a doctor, we’ll take this as a serious advise. Thank you for the feedback!

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